One of the best things to come out of all those lockdowns was the boom in new independent businesses – and our new-found appreciation for those based on our doorsteps.
There are brilliant creators dotted all over the north west, but Oldham has got a vast array of crafters and stockists selling handmade gifts that won’t break the bank.
One of those does exactly what it says in the tin – Gifts Under a Tenner sells a massive range of gifts all priced under £10.
It was founded as an online shop in 2016 by former police officer Diane Barlow, who went on to become a fixture at Royton market.
Diane says: “Despite the name people will still say, ‘what, everything is under £10?’
“It’s a buzz because people are happy, they can buy anything they want and that’s my main philosophy: I want them to be able to pick something up and know they can afford it.”
She says the market was her ‘baby’ between 2017 and 2021, but had to give it up and decided to focus on the shop she and a former colleague opened in Chorley in 2019.
It’s now expanded into the unit next door where they mostly sell gorgeous wooden toys, as well as gifts ranging from a trinket dish (£2.95), scarves (£5.95) and a ceramic light-up Christmas house (£9.99), as well as personalised Christmas ornaments.
Diane continues: “It’s crazy because every day without fail, even in the summer, I get people saying, ‘I’m coming back at Christmas’ and people do, because they’re beautiful stocking-fillers and a lot of them show you care without spending a lot of money.”
For people who can’t make it to the store her products are also available online, where Diane is passionate about supporting others like her.
“My Instagram hashtags are all about buying local and supporting small businesses and I’ve started finding independent suppliers because it’s important to me to keep them going. Covid had a massive effect on everyone – a lot of shops and market traders have gone. It’s important to buy local, it really is.”
Based in Chadderton is author and illustrator J C Perry, who has penned five books suitable for ages four to eight, which are available online for around £6.99.
Many of the books feature landscapes that will be familiar to Oldham residents.
She says: “I try to use local scenes, so Dove Stone Reservoir is in I Am a Stone; the tall house in Tom’s Zombie Fright is actually our house, and the tree in The Best Nest is based on one in the cemetery next to us.
“They might not be recognisable to everyone but they’re scenes from where I live and the illustrations have all got a flavour of Saddleworth and Oldham.”
As well as celebrating the borough in print, she also hopes to inspire the next generation of young storytellers with her writing and drawing workshops at libraries.
“Growing up I can’t think of a local children’s author – the ones that visited school didn’t have local accents, they were from London. It’s good for local kids to see an author from the area – in the back of my books I always say where I’m from and it might inspire them to pick up their pen and write a story.”
The self-published writer has a sixth book out in December just in time for Christmas, with several more planned for 2023.
Carolyn Hollinshead is another local business owner who says the encouragement from customers and fellow stallholders at local markets gave her the push to take the leap. She applied to makers’ markets, which led to a spot at Oldham Council’s pop-up shop last year.
“It’s hard work and I’m learning as I go along but there’s been proud moments,” says Carolyn, a mum of four. “Like when I was asked to do Oldham Made I thought, ‘oh someone’s interested in my things!’”
Beespoke Gifts by Carolyn was born out of lockdown, and a keyring-making activity she and two of her kids did – she soon branched out into jewellery and sourcing items made of slate and wood, candles, and maps of Greater Manchester, which she customises with the worker bee symbol.
She says: “It happened by accident but it’s my little thing now and I have a real passion for it. The feedback I’ve had is that they’re tasteful and unique and I can personalise them, so if you want that special touch there’s that option so they’re a little more thoughtful.”
Carolyn’s affordable handcrafts can be ordered via Facebook and are also stocked at Whispers hair salon in Shaw and at the Little Owl Farm near Delph, which will be transformed into a Christmas shop throughout the weekends in December.
“It’s really important to support local people because I know how much hard work it is – to buy something from a small business as opposed to going into a big shop means so much more.”
Featured image: Supplied
Deliveroo is knocking 25% off takeaways for parts of Greater Manchester this month
Deliveroo is going to be slashing takeaway bills by 25% for people in parts of Greater Manchester.
The delivery giant is offering up the discount from today all the way through to the new year.
It means that locals in the city centre, as well as Chorlton, Didsbury and Rusholme, will be able to save 25% on their Deliveroo order.
There are loads of local restaurants and cafes taking part, including the ever-popular burger and shake joint Archie’s and long-standing favourite Tampopo.
Yum Cha, which opened at Kampus this summer after 11 hugely successful years in Liverpool, is also taking part, with its incredible roast meats cooked for 24 hours in a custom-made roasting oven, plus Chinese small plates and dim sum.
Manc favourite Rudy’s, home of arguably the country’s best pizza, are included in Deliveroo’s 25% discount, alongside chicken legends Yard & Coop.
Then there’s Zumuku Sushi, Bondi Bowls and Zaxx Fried Chicken, to name a few.
The 25% discount applies to residents in Manchester city centre, Didsbury, Chorlton and Rusholme, and applies to order of £20 or over.
The deal is available between 5 December and 2 January.
Featured image: The Manc Group
Watch live: Andy Burnham, Angela Rayner, Steve Rotheram and more take part in DJ battle
Andy Burnham is set to take to the DJ decks again, facing off against Angela Rayner, Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram, and Manc legends including Clint Boon and Rowetta.
The huge event has been created with the support of Warehouse Project to raise funds for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity for A Bed Every Night.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has now been added to the bill and will be getting behind the decks at the charity event, alongside Manc music legends.
The event will see Burnham battling against Steve Rotheram in a musical head-to-head between Manchester and Liverpool.
It’s taking place at Depot Mayfield, the home of Warehouse Project, on Friday 2 December – and we’ve got an exclusive discount for £1 tickets for The Manc readers.
All proceeds from bar sales on the night will go to support those who are experiencing or at risk of rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.
The line-up will be headlined by Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram (who first battled behind the DJ decks in lockdown), with guest appearances from Angela Rayner, Nihal Arthanayake, Stanley Chow, Clint Boon and Rowetta, plus guest DJs from the Warehouse Project.
Angela said: “I can’t wait to get on the decks and show everyone why Manchester is clearly the best city when it comes to music. I’ve got a lot of love for Scousers, but Team Liverpool will be second best on Saturday night.
“I’m delighted to be taking part in this event and helping to raise money for such a fantastic cause. I hope you like the songs I’ve picked. It was hard to narrow it down to three because there are so many Manchester music legends!”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We all know Manchester has the greatest musical heritage and I’ll be giving it my all in the set to prove that point once and for all. There’s serious pride at stake here.
“But competition aside, our passion for music unites our two city regions. What better way to put on an amazing celebration of our region’s culture and raise money for important causes, to support those who need it most at what is a really difficult time.”
Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram said: “There can be no debate: the Liverpool City Region is the undisputed home of British music. We’ve given the world some of the greatest artists, albums and songs of all time – no area has had more number one hits than us.
“The fact we beat off competition from cities across the UK to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine speaks to our world-leading reputation as the UK’s premier music scene – and it’s a legacy we’re continuing today.”
The battle is supported by The Warehouse Project, Elevate and Badger & Combes.
Launched in 2018 by Andy Burnham and supported by the Charity, A Bed Every Night provides emergency accommodation for anyone rough sleeping across the city-region, regardless of status, as well as vital personal support.
Since its launch, A Bed Every Night has helped over 4,000 people and been instrumental in reducing rough sleeping in the region since its peak in 2017. But due to the current cost of living and energy crisis, there is an increased need to offer support this winter.
Currently, there are 619 people in A Bed Every Night accommodation across Greater Manchester who would otherwise be at risk of rough sleeping, with 21 organisations across the region providing accommodation.
To get your ticket for £1 (plus fees), use the code: TheManc – get yours here.